The Lee River Winter Trail project was designed to:
Key Priorities of Focus
This project focuses on three of the CDC’s Key Priorities.
Marketing & Branding
Sustainability & Operations
New Grooming Equipment Made Available
The Committee is happy to announce that two residents have upgraded their snow-clearing equipment with the Lee River Winter Trail in mind. For the 2022/2023 winter season and beyond, the Committee will have access to some oversized and near-industrial equipment and volunteers to maintain the trail – no matter what winter throws at us!
Lee River Winter Trail will be even bigger and better! Now, we’re just waiting for the river to freeze over.
Trail Receives $2000 in Funding from LDB ICE Fishing Derby
In June, the Committee was awarded a grant for $2,000 from the Lac du Bonnet Ice Fishing Derby.
This funding will allow the Committee to purchase additional signs for the 2022/2023 Winter Trail season, help with the marketing and promotions of the trail, and contribute to the future development of warm-up areas along the trail.
The Committee would like to thank Derby for its support of this project.
Trail Receives $5,000 in Funding from Beausejour CO-OP
In January, the Committee received a $5,000 grant from the Beausejour CO-OP Community Support Fund.
The funding from this grant was provided for capital funding expenditures for the Lee River Winter Trail. It will be used to purchase reflective markers, signage, flooding equipment, snow clearing equipment, safety equipment, and warming areas.
We want to thank Beausejour CO-OP for their support of the community project.
January to February
Lee River Winter Trail 2021/2022 Season
With the passionate dedication of one very ambitious community member, the Lee River Winter Trail was created during the last week of December 2021. It was opened and groomed for as long as possible.
While the ultimate goal is to have the World’s Longest Ice-Skating Trail of at least 32KM, the 2021/2022 season allowed for the foundational set-up of the Committee, volunteers, programming opportunities, and marketing materials while working on these first steps, the goal was to create a skating trail was 17KM starting at the PTH 313 Bridge and extending to Osprey Boat Launch.
The winter of 2021/2022 was a winter that none of us would soon forget. The amount of snow that accumulated this winter made it difficult to keep up with the maintenance of the trail, but while it was operational, many residents took to 18 kilometres (we beat the goal by one kilometre!) of groomed skating trail along the Lee River.
Getting Ready to Build Lee River Winter Trail
The Lee River Winter Trail Committee met to discuss and finalize the 2021 to 2024 Work Plan for the Trail to create a world-class, multi-use skating trail along the Lee River, with one goal in mind – to beat the current Guinness World Record holders. Currently, the Lake Windermere Whiteway is the world’s longest skating Trail, running 30 kilometres between Invermere and Windemere, British Columbia.
During this meeting, we were joined by the Lee River Snow Riders, who operate and manage the snowmobile trails along the Lee River. A plan was put in place to allow the snowmobile and winter trails to co-exist.
A Community Recreation Needs Survey conducted in 2020 by the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet Recreation Department highlighted that residents of Lac du Bonnet leave the community to use outdoor skating trails. While an Information Café, hosted by Travel Manitoba in 2019 and a Development Focus Group, hosted by the CDC in 2019, brought to light the need to provide, develop and grow winter-based community tourism assets.
As such, the RM Recreation Department and the Lac du Bonnet CDC combined their efforts to fulfill both a community desire and a way to attract visitors to Lac du Bonnet during winter. Upon further research and investigation, it was discovered that a resident had already been working along the Lee River, plowing and maintaining a skating trail that ranged from 10 to 17 kilometres, simply out of the goodness of his heart.
A committee was formed, and work began to create the World’s Longest Ice Skating Trail. As the committee grew, so too did the ideas. The goal is to create a multi-use winter trail that will include a groomed skating trail, a cross-country ski trail, and a snowshoe and walking trail.